The microRNA-processing enzyme dicer is essential for thyroid function

Daniela Frezzetti, Carla Reale, Gaetano Calì, Lucio Nitsch, Henrik Fagman, Ola Nilsson, Marzia Scarfò, Gabriella de Vita, Roberto Di Lauro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dicer is a type III ribonuclease required for the biogenesis of microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small non-coding RNAs regulating gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. To explore the functional role of miRNAs in thyroid gland function, we generated a thyrocyte-specific Dicer conditional knockout mouse. Here we show that development and early differentiation of the thyroid gland are not affected by the absence of Dicer, while severe hypothyroidism gradually develops after birth, leading to reduced body weight and shortened life span. Histological and molecular characterization of knockout mice reveals a dramatic loss of the thyroid gland follicular architecture associated with functional aberrations and down-regulation of several differentiation markers. The data presented in this study show for the first time that an intact miRNAs processing machinery is essential for thyroid physiology, suggesting that deregulation of specific miRNAs could be also involved in human thyroid dysfunctions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27648
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 21 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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